Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Confessions of a Designer:
We Feel what is Beyond Measurement

Image: Sunnylands Center, Palm Springs Florida
“It’s not imitating the house in any way; it’s just instilled with the feel of some of the elements. It frames your experience as a visitor."
~ Michael S. Smith, Santa Monica designer
Source: palmspringslife.com: Design of the Times
These are the words of Santa Monica designer Michael Smith, on crafting a relaxing public space with the atmosphere of a grand living room. He mentions no measurements; no quantitative analysis whatsoever. No materialistic science of any kind.

And yet, as interior designers go, Mr. Smith must have some quantifiable credentials. After all, he did furnish the private living quarters of the White House for President Obama and the First Lady.

We live in a funny world: a world in which the ruling class has always measured success empirically on one hand, then used their wealth and power to wrap themselves in a feeling which cannot be measured...truly.

One can say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one would be right if one was referring merely to aesthetics. But a designer’s language—especially a designer of spaces—lies not in the realm of aesthetics. We design spaces which feel a certain way.

We all know feeling is not the same as thinking; and, we know it is impossible to put a measure on qualitative aspects of a space. You can take all the physical measurements you want (dimensions, lighting, surface area, temperature, and thousands more) then take that data and try to reproduce the space with the same qualities and you will fail…miserably. Why is that?

I never really gave this much thought, actually. At least, not until I embarked on the whole PeapodLife project, started spending time with our ecosystems, and began comprehending for the first time the language I had been speaking my whole life as a designer.

What a designer feels is energy, but it is not energy which can be measured using any physical method. This is because the energy we feel is not physical in nature; it is subtle.

No one can deny their experience of “bad vibes;” of suddenly experiencing “the heebie jeebies” for no apparent reason.  Conversely, we have all experienced any number of “warm and fuzzy” feelings in countless different circumstances, often with no clear material cause. 

Science—particularly neuroscientists, armed with their fancy MRI’s, EEG’s and laboratory experiments—will disagree, of course. Their ceaseless efforts to reduce the human experience to electrical activity in the brain are as we speak advancing such noble pursuits as branding and advertising.

Image: Photo of woman wearing “Neuroscience Brain Hack” device by Neuro-Focus. | Photo by Gene Lee

Science assumes that “life energy” is the product of the physical organism. If there is such a thing as “bad vibes,” it likely has to do with electromagnetic fields (measurable) and their effect on the central nervous system and the brain.

How long can science ignore that the foundations of reality are energetic? They have built the $7.5 billion euro Large Hadron Collider for the purpose of detecting the Higgs Boson and other theoretical particles which give mass to energy.

Science seems desperate to assert the 3-dimensional worldview (that physical reality is primary). There is a disconnect, however. And we all can and do experience that disconnect: with every experience of non-physical reality, experiences which science desperately wants to convince us are merely products of our conscious and subconscious mind housed purely in the physical brain.

With our ground-breaking work on the ecosystem, PeapodLife brings biology to the discussion in a meaningful way. After all, there is no better way to observe the nature and foundations of life (and life energy) than from a biological framework.

By working with the underlying matrix of life—which is subtle, non-material energy—our ecosystems are able to achieve what no conventional materialistic approach to plants can. Certainly, we work in 3-dimensional reality, and the design of our ecosystems exist to support the bodies of ecosystems which are likewise material.

But the cause-and-effect relationships between 3rd and 4th dimensional are far more subtle, complex, non-linear, and precisely the reverse of what conventional wisdom would have us believe. How do we do it? Measure it? Prove it?

How do you know when a design works? You don’t think it through. You don't measure it. You simply feel it.

This is the starting point.

Martina Ernst
President and Co-Founder of PeapodLife a Division of Wo-Built Inc.

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